|Publication number||US4350409 A|
|Application number||US 06/248,799|
|Publication date||Sep 21, 1982|
|Filing date||Mar 30, 1981|
|Priority date||Oct 5, 1978|
|Also published as||CA1138551A, CA1138551A1, DE2940457A1|
|Publication number||06248799, 248799, US 4350409 A, US 4350409A, US-A-4350409, US4350409 A, US4350409A|
|Inventors||Matsuo Kato, Tomonari Ohtsuki, Yoshiaki Igarashi, Tsukasa Saito, Toshiaki Suzuki|
|Original Assignee||Bunker Ramo Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (29), Classifications (4), Legal Events (8)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation application of application Ser. No. 06/081,307, filed Oct. 2, 1979, now abandoned.
This invention relates to the field of electrical connectors, and particularly concerns electrical connectors with multiple contacts requiring keying of the mating connector parts.
Connector keying is an old art, and many forms of keying devices have been used in the past.
The need for keying electrical connectors has been long understood. Especially with multiple-contact electrical connectors, it is often necessary to prevent connecting two electrical connectors together, e.g., when in the wrong orientation or when connection to the wrong mating connector is to be avoided. Many electronic devices today utilize connectors in which the contacts are equally spaced along straight rows and are symmetrical relative to a center line of the connector. Should the plug and receptacle be reversed and coupled together, electrical connections will be made between the two connector parts, which could have catastrophic results.
Furthermore, because of intentionally imposed limitations on the number of contacts of a multi-contact connector, an electronic apparatus may be assembled with several multi-contact connectors to mate with corresponding connectors, which may be chassis mounted or printed circuit board-mounted. In these apparatuses, if the connectors are all of the same type, i.e., same number of contacts and same physical shape, the connector parts can be mistakenly inserted onto a mating connector adjacent the one intended to be connected due to the usual allowance for slack in the wiring. In other words, it is not possible under certain circumstances to prevent malfunctions due to misconnection merely by limiting the length of wire leading to the free connector part or parts.
In the prior art, one device which has been used to avoid the problems discussed above has a raised key on the outer surface of one connector part and a mating groove aligned with the key in the other connector part, with the key nesting in the groove when the connectors are properly connected. However, when more than one connector pair is used in a system, different connector parts must be chosen which have a different keying configuration of key and groove. This type of keying requires a variety of differently keyed connectors and consequently results in parts control and logistics problems. This solution to the problem is also uneconomical, involving higher costs due to the necessity of preparing many sets of expensive molds for making the connector parts.
Another prior art solution to the above-noted problem involves one of the series of female contacts of the female connector part and cutting off the male contact of the male connector part corresponding to the plugged female contact. Thus there is only one orientation of connector parts that is possible for mating, namely with the plugged female contact aligned with the cut-off male contact. Reverse orientation and incorrect selection of mating connector parts is therefore avoided. The advantage that these types of devices have over the aforementioned device is that all connector parts share a common mold. On the other hand, it is necessary to sacrifice one contact position and labor costs also increase, the contact loss can also be very disadvantageous when there is limited space within the apparatus for installing and connecting the connectors.
The present invention overcomes the deficiencies of the prior art noted above by providing a keying arrangement which permits manufacture of a single type of male or female connector part and yet does not require the sacrifice of contact positions. The invention therefore provides an improved connector keying arrangement for keying mating first and second connector parts to assure proper connection between the parts and to prevent connection to other connector parts of unlike keying.
In accordance with the invention, there is provided a key mount affixed to the first connector part and adapted to retain an appropriate key member. A key member receiver is affixed to the second connector part and has a key member-receiving slot therein aligned with for slidingly receiving the key member when the first and second connector parts are mated.
In the described embodiment of the invention, the key mount is a generally U-shaped protrusion on one face of the first connector part which defines a key member mounting passageway between the interior of the protrusion and the one face of the first connector. The passageway thus defined extends in the direction of connection of the first and second connector parts.
The key member may include a base, a key projecting from the base, and a mounting leg projecting from the base parallel to the key. The mounting leg is sized to snugly fit into the passageway, while the key lies against an exterior surface of the U-shaped protrusion.
The key member-receiving slot in the described preferred embodiment is preferably defined by a relatively wide key mount slot conformed and sized to receive the U-shaped key mount. A relatively narrow key slot is recessed into the key mount slot and is conformed and sized to receive the key.
The key member is positioned on the key mount by inserting the mounting leg into the passageway in the key mount until the base of the key member butts against one side of the key mount. A hook-shaped key latch is positioned at the free end of the key and snap-fits over the other end of the key mount to rigidly capture the key mount between the base and the latch.
The key receiver is removably insertable in the second connector part by means of channel members on the edges of the key receiver mating with elongated projections on either side of an opening in the body of the second connector part. In this manner, both the key member and key receiver are removable and selectably mountable on the first and second connector parts, respectively. Thus, the connector parts are of standard configuration with standard key mounts and key receiver openings, respectively and keying is accomplished by different configurations of key member and key receiver. Thus, a variety of keying combinations can be realized by utilizing a set of differently configured key members and key receivers without requiring changes in the main body of the connector parts.
The number of keying devices per connector and the number of positions of the key on each key member (and corresponding key slot on each key receiver) determine the number of possible keying combinations.
The invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings representing preferred embodiments of the connector keying arrangement according to the present invention. In the drawings:
FIGS. 1 and 2 are perspective views of two different types of prior art connector keying arrangements;
FIG. 3 is a perspective exploded view of a connector keying arrangement according to the present invention arrangement;
FIG. 4 is a downward looking view of the mated connector parts of FIG. 3 (excluding the cable);
FIGS. 5-8 show a partial cross sectional view of the front wall of the connector arrangement of FIG. 4 and illustrates various keying positions for the key and key slot;
FIGS. 9-11 show a top plan view of three different key members making up a part of the present invention, each of the three key members having a different keying location for the key relative to the base upon which it mounts.
FIG. 1 shows a typical prior art keying system whereby two first connector parts c are mounted in a chassis and have differently located keying grooves d in the top surface of the connector part. A second connector part a has a key b projecting from its upper surface, and it is clear that the second connector part a can only be plugged into the right chassis-mounted connector part c when key b fits into groove d. As explained earlier, this arrangement is disadvantageous from the viewpoint that a different connector part is required for each different keying configuration.
FIG. 2 illustrates a known improvement over the prior art of FIG. 1, but suffers the disadvantages described above in connection with utilizing a plug f inserted into a female contact e at a location corresponding to the missing male pin g of the other connector part. As can be observed, this method requires the sacrifice of one complete male/female contact connection within the connector and entails added labor costs.
In the exploded perspective view of FIG. 3, the basic elements of the preferred embodiment of this invention can be seen. A female connector part 1 has a multi-wire flat cable 2 for making connection to female contacts (not shown) accessible at the bottom of the connector part.
U-shaped key mounts 3 and 4 are positioned along the front face of main body 20 of female connector part 1. The opening between the interior of key mounts 3 and 4 and body 20 define key member mounting passageways 5 for receiving mounting legs 8 of key members 6 and 7.
The key member 6 (and 7) has three parts, a base 10, a projecting mounting leg 8, and a key 9 extending parallel to mounting leg 8 on the opposite side of base 10. A hook-shaped latch 21 is located at the free end of key 9, and the spacing between the top surface of base 10 and the lateral surface of latch 21 corresponds to the distance between the end faces of key mounts 3 and 4. With this arrangement, when mounting leg 8 is inserted into passageway 5, the resilience of key 9 permits latch 21 to deflect and snap over the top edge of key mount 3. The snug fit of mounting leg 8 in passageway 5 and the latching of the key 9 holds key member 6 in firmly on key mount 3. In the top part of FIG. 3, a pair of key mounts 3 and 4 are shown with key member 6 ready for mounting on key mount 3 and a different key member 7 firmly mounted on key mount 4.
In the lower portion of FIG. 3, a male connector part 11 having a main body 22 supports a plurality of male contacts 23 for mating with the female contacts of the female connector part 1. Openings 12 and 13 are provided in one side of body 22 to serve as mounting means for the key receivers 15 and 16. Key receiver 15 has a wide key mount slot 18 with a deeper and narrower key slot 19 adapted to receive the key mount 3 and key 9, respectively. The key receiver 15 is mountable on body 22 by the provision of a pair of channels 17 on either side of the receiver 15 which engage corresponding longitudinal projections 14 along the side edges of opening 12 in an interference fit.
Key member 6 has its key 9 positioned to the right while key member 7 has its key 9 positioned to the left. Likewise, in the key receivers 15 and 16, the key slots 19 are positioned accordingly, i.e., to be aligned with keys 9 of key members 6 and 7, respectively, when the two connector parts 1 and 11 are mated.
It will be appreciated that, rather than supply a different key member 7 and key receiver 16, due to the symmetry of key mounts 3 and 4 as well as openings 12 and 13, a second key member 6 could be inserted in an inverted position in key mount 4, and a second key receiver 15 could be likewise inverted and inserted in opening 13 thus utilizing only a single key member type and a single key receiver type.
Turning now to FIG. 4, a top view of the mated connector parts 1 and 11 is shown. A pair of key mounts 3 and 4 are shown with their keys 9 positioned in key slots 19 in key receivers 15 and 16, respectively.
FIGS. 5 through 8 illustrate a single configuration for the key receivers 15 and 16 and the four possible combinations for locating the keys 9 of key members 6 and 7. In FIG. 5 keys 9 located in their outward position, align with key slots 19, thereby permitting the two connector parts to engage. In FIGS. 6-8, however, any of the three other possible combinations for the locations of keys 9 will cause an obstruction, i.e., at least one of the keys 9 is not aligned with at least one of the key slots 19, and accidental connection or misorientation of the connector is not possible. In FIG. 6, the keys 9 are shown in the inwardmost position, in FIG. 7 both are shown at the extreme right, and in FIG. 8, both are shown at the extreme left.
FIGS. 9, 10 and 11 show an alternate form of the invention wherein the key member 6 (or 7) is shown with a central mounting leg 8 and three different positions for key 9, laterally to the left of leg 8 in FIG. 9, centrally aligned with leg 8 in FIG. 10, and laterally to the right of leg 8 in FIG. 11. Of course, corresponding key receivers would be required to accommodate the three possible configurations of key member, but the number of possible keying combinations would be greatly increased. In particular, for a connector having M keying devices, and wherein each keying device has N possible locations for the key, the number of possible keying combinations is NM. The advantage of using the keying device of the present invention becomes clear when realizing that for this number of keying combinations, a maximum of only 2×N different inexpensive key members and key receivers would be required, i.e., N different key members and N different key receivers.
In the illustrations of the drawings, the key members have been attached to key mounts on the female connector part 1, while the key receivers 15 and 16 have been shown mounted on male connector part 11. Obviously, the two keying devices on the different connector parts could be reversed.
Thus, it can be appreciated that, while different molds will be required to produce the unique key members and key receivers, only a single kind of male and female connector part will be required to result in a variety of keying combinations for the connectors.
From the foregoing, it can be readily realized that this invention can assume various embodiments. Thus, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the specific embodiments described herein, but is to be limited only by the appended claims.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3675185 *||Feb 3, 1971||Jul 4, 1972||Elco Corp||Electrical connectors for distribution plate and rack and panel applications|
|US4159862 *||Dec 12, 1977||Jul 3, 1979||Fabri-Tek Incorporated||Removable female polarizing guide for electrical connectors|
|CH586962A5 *||Title not available|
|FR2021547A1 *||Title not available|
|FR2532885A1 *||Title not available|
|GB832658A *||Title not available|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|US4568134 *||Feb 21, 1985||Feb 4, 1986||E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And Company||Printed circuit board keying system|
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|US5147226 *||Jan 25, 1991||Sep 15, 1992||Amp Incorporated||Connector assembly and keyed alignment assist shroud therefor|
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|US5289554 *||Sep 29, 1992||Feb 22, 1994||Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company||Keying element for fiber connector|
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|US5417590 *||Nov 8, 1993||May 23, 1995||Molex Incorporated||Plug and socket electrical connector system|
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|US6929516||Oct 28, 2003||Aug 16, 2005||9090-3493 Québec Inc.||Bathing unit controller and connector system therefore|
|US7419406||Mar 7, 2005||Sep 2, 2008||Gecko Alliance Group Inc.||Bathing unit controller|
|US20050090153 *||Oct 28, 2003||Apr 28, 2005||Christian Brochu||Bathing unit controller and connector system therefore|
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|US20060073719 *||Sep 29, 2005||Apr 6, 2006||Kiani Massi E||Multiple key position plug|
|DE102004057287A1 *||Nov 26, 2004||Jun 1, 2006||Wago Verwaltungsgesellschaft Mbh||Two or multi-point electrical plug-in connector, has underfloor slot and plate formed in respective connector halves, where outer edges of plate form positive fit with slot, during insertion of plate into slot for closing connector|
|DE102004057287B4 *||Nov 26, 2004||Jan 13, 2011||Wago Verwaltungsgesellschaft Mbh||Elektrischer Steckverbinder|
|EP0964484A2 *||Mar 29, 1999||Dec 15, 1999||Delphi Technologies, Inc.||Two-part electrical connector housing|
|EP1527764A2 *||Sep 28, 2004||May 4, 2005||9090-3493 Quebec Inc.||Bathing unit controller and connector system therefore|
|Jun 15, 1983||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ALLIED CORPORATION COLUMBIA ROAD AND PARK AVENUE,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:BUNKER RAMO CORPORATION A CORP. OF DE;REEL/FRAME:004149/0365
Effective date: 19820922
|Dec 10, 1985||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jul 2, 1987||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCE, NEW YORK AGENC
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AMPHENOL CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004879/0030
Effective date: 19870515
|Oct 1, 1987||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AMPHENOL CORPORATION, LISLE, ILLINOIS A CORP. OF D
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:ALLIED CORPORATION, A CORP. OF NY;REEL/FRAME:004844/0850
Effective date: 19870602
Owner name: AMPHENOL CORPORATION, A CORP. OF DE, ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ALLIED CORPORATION, A CORP. OF NY;REEL/FRAME:004844/0850
Effective date: 19870602
|Apr 24, 1990||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Sep 23, 1990||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Dec 4, 1990||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 19900923
|Jun 12, 1992||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AMPHENOL CORPORATION A CORP. OF DELAWARE
Free format text: RELEASED BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCE;REEL/FRAME:006147/0887
Effective date: 19911114